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Range of Colours on Your Plate Represents Range of Nutrients
Our ancestors had it right when they stressed the importance of variety in our diets and back then, you would likely find a range of colours on your dinner plate which represented a range of nutrients. But why do we really need variety? There are two main reasons:
- Each whole food contains a different set of nutrients that our body needs.
- Eating a variety of foods prevents the onset of food sensitivities and allergies and therefore paves the way for better absorption of each of the foods we consume.
Let me explain my second point. Each type of food calls upon a particular set of digestive enzymes to digest it. If those digestive enzymes are continually called upon and your digestive system is not strong (as is often the case these days), the particular digestive enzymes needed to digest your favourite food will wear out. It is no coincidence that the top allergens in North America are dairy and wheat – the two foods that we consume the most. Each time we eat wheat, in our breakfast (toast), lunch (sandwich) and dinner (pasta), we use the same digestive enzyme to break down the wheat. If we start to experience bloating or fatigue or maybe even acquire celiac disease, these are all signs that our digestive enzymes for wheat are not working properly. This is why digestive enzymes are being taken in supplement form, more and more often these days.
So, when you are preparing a meal for yourself or your family, you want to see a range of foods and a range of colours on the plate you prepare. Let me give you some examples of certain coloured foods and the aspects of health to which they contribute:
Orange fruits and vegetables are great for improving eyesight – Examples include mangoes, oranges, peaches, butternut squash, carrots and sweet potatoes.
Green fruits and vegetables are important for strong bones and teeth – Examples include broccoli, green beans, kiwi, honeydew melon, cabbage, and zucchini.
Purple fruits and vegetables are good for memory function – Examples include blackberries, blueberries, eggplant, grapes, and purple endive.
Yellow and white fruits and vegetables make healthy skin – Examples include yellow apples, white potatoes, onions, corn, peaches, bananas and yellow bell peppers.
A serving size is the size and thickness of the palm of your hand (without the fingers). So, one good-sized apple is actually closer to two serving sizes for a child. We need 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day to receive the nutrients our bodies need. I encourage you to keep all this in mind when you prepare your next meal. And know, too, that different herbal teas, the spices that you use in your cooking, and even pure essential oils all contribute different nutrients to your family’s well-being! When you plan meals out, keeping this in mind, eating can be simple, fun and nutrition packed.
For those of you that like using a sticker system with your child, have your son or daughter make a chart and then write in the vegetable or fruit that they have eaten that day and its colour and serving size. If at the end of the day, they have eaten a minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, you can reward your child with a sticker. At the end of a week of 5 servings a day, you can reward them with a bigger sticker or reward.
The way our children are taught to eat usually stays with them for a lifetime. They may digress but when they start to experience symptoms, conditions or disease and they are reminded of the power of food, we often see our children return to their original teachings. Don’t underestimate your ability to show your child the way. And please don’t underestimate how simple it can be!
I’d love your feedback! Here on this site, you’ll get commentluv. This is a wonderful opportunity to leave a link back to your own blog as well!
Until next time,